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tv   2014 Georgia Senate Candidates Forum  CSPAN  August 24, 2014 10:35am-11:21am EDT

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they do not know the questions, which will come from me. if there is a need for rebuttal, that will be at my discretion and i also have the ability to follow up. the candidates will have two minutes to answer each question posed to them. following that there will be closing statements of two minutes apiece. so are we ready for the instructions? thank you very much. i might need this. we will be seated at center stage and i'll be in the middle. the candidates will be at my right and left and as i move to the center stage, let me be sure everything is working here with this mike. yes, it is. we'll be passing the mike.
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so we're set to go. please join me in welcoming the republican and democratic candidates for the u.s. senate seat from georgia, republican david perdue and democrat michelle nunn. \[applause] please be seated. welcome to you both. and we'll begin with a five-minute opening statement.
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first opening statement comes from david perdue. >> well, good afternoon. it's nice to be here with the chamber. appreciate you guys hosting us today. i feel right at home today for two reasons. one, like you, i've spent the last 40 years working in the global economy, completing, providing products and services to customers. and in so doing, adding value to our economy and creating opportunities for people to provide for themselves and their families. the second reason, i am home. i was born down the street at macon hospital. i grew up in warner robins. my mom and dad were schoolteachers. i grew up working on our family farms. my wife bonnie and i met in first grade and we've been married 42 years. we've been blessed with two sons and three grandsons. one of my first paying jobs was in warner robins in a program that taught preschoolers how to read. when you show a child a book for the first time and you teach him
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to read, that never leaves you and i've carried that with me all my life. like many of you, i worked my way through college and graduated from georgia tech working construction jobs and warehouse jobs but in this race i'm learning how to say "go, dogs." you tech guys, don't worry, i'm still there. i worked here after tech with a firm that worked with many companies and we spent the first half of our career here in georgia. after that my family and i took off, literally, climbing in the career that we had and rising to senior positions later in companies like reebok, sara lee and later being chairman and c.e.o. of dollar general, where i oversaw the rapid expansion of that firm, adding thousands of jobs and creating thousands of \jobs and creating thousands of new stores. i'd never been in politics before but i got in this because i felt like we had a full-blown crisis in our country and i felt i could add value.
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if you look at the debt we have today, $18 trillion almost. but that's not the worst of it. what we're not talking about is another $86 trillion coming at us in unfunded future liabilities. that's $1 million for every household in our country. it's the greatest threat to our national security and our very way of life. and that's not the end of it. even after putting $3.5 trillion into our economy, this economy is flat right now because of bad government policies. today we have fewer people working as a percentage of our working force than we've had since jimmy carter was president. the majority of small businesses have either stopped hiring or have cut back hiring because of overregulation. you know, you have to look at the situation and try to figure how did we get in this mess?
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i think to answer that question, first you have to look at the makeup of the united states senate. today we only have about 10 people in the united states senate who have any business experience and even those people have been in elected office longer than they've been in business. and combine that with the gridlock, the self-imposed gridlock that we have up there and you end up with in failed administration creating devastating rules for you and me out here in the working world. but the gridlock up there is not necessary. on harry reid's desk today are over 300 bills that have been passed in the house. some of these bills had 2/3 majorities. that means they were bipartisan bills but they're stuck in harry reid's office because of one reason.
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that allows this president to run our government with executive order and regulatory mandate. it's created a failed administration. any way, any measure. foreign policy, immigration, health care. education, the debt. the economy. but it doesn't have to be this way. we need to get back to the founding principles of our founders. conservative principles. economic opportunity. fiscal responsibility. limited government. individual liberties. if we do that, we win this race, we take back the senate from harry reid and we start getting results again in washington.
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together, we can turn america back toward a position of strength and prosperity. thank you for having us, i look forward to our conversation. thank you. >> thank you. \[applause] >> our next opening statement now from michelle nunn. >> thank you, john. thank you, david. it's good to be in this conversation with you and thanks to the chamber. you all have a tremendous turnout here and it's a testament to the great work that you're doing in the state and the leadership that you're showing on behalf of the business community. i see a lot of folks in this all of a sudden that i've worked with over the last number of decades. 26 years ago i gathered with a small group of people at manuel's tavern and we had our first public meeting there and we went from a few dozen people with a dream with mobilized volunteers to a network that included hundreds of thousands of people across the country, and eventually, seven years ago, we merged with president george h.w. bush's points of light organization and together we
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created an organization that last year mobilized 4 million volunteers. we used to send out a post card with five or six projects on it. deliver meals to home bound or tutor kids and no we now complete over 20,000 projects every single month. so i'm seeing what happens when we apply creativity and entrepreneurship and innovation to getting things done. i know what it means to take an organization from just a couple of thousand dollars to a $30 bunt. i know what it means to try to make payroll with -- to try to cover your employees with health care. and i also know wait means to make hard choices but with the end in mind of sustaining a lasting and stronger organization than the way you found it. perhaps the most important
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lesson i learn and carry with me and that i work side by side with volunteers to really find common ground, to collaborate, to problem solve with a focus on getting things done for people and putting aside differences. like you, i've sat through lots of business meetings and church meetings and p.t.a. meetings and people don't always get along and y'all know that. but they keep at it. they don't walk out, they don't shut down, they keep going and they solve real problems and that's what we need more of in washington. i hear that from people all over the state. they tell me we need to invest in our infrastructure, we need to alleviate the regulatory burdens strangling small businesses. reform our tax code. reduce our long-term debt. we need to work to do that in a bipartisan fashion and we also need to invest in our kids and in education. so we need to provide the certainty to folks like you to be able to invest.
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we need to break the gridlock in washington and that's what i've been talking about, about sending someone to washington who's focused on partnership and getting things done together. but that's not what i've heard from david over the course of the year during the campaign. in fact, within minutes of winning the election for the republican nomination, david said this election is about prosecuting the administration and the president. but i don't agree about that. i think this election is about the hopes, aspirations, dreams of georgians and fighting for georgians. david was asked recently if there was a democratic idea he could work on with the democrats and he failed to be able to answer that. couldn't think of one. if you look at his issues, you have a support for the government shutdown, against common core, something that the
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chamber has worked hard around. you have a record that says i'm against the farm bill. that's what david said, the bipartisan farm bill, and you also have the refusal to work together around comprehensive immigration reform. so that sounds a lot like washington as usual to me and i know that we can do better in washington and i know that we must. i know that we must work together. you know, david's allies have been running a lot of tv ads. you've probably seen me standing with president obama. what's interesting about that picture is it was taken at president george h.w. bush's library and if you widen the lens, president george h.w. bush was there. so i have the experience of working together across the aisle, of getting things done, even when there are differences of opinion and i think that's what wee need, people who are going to problem solve and not prosecute and i pledge to be a fierce advocate for georgia's citizens' rights. thank you. >> thank you. \[applause]
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>> since this is an opening statement, i'm not going to have rebuttal. there will be a closing statements and programs you could work in some responses during the course of the q&a. if a candidate is mentioned by the other candidate, there is a chance to respond but the opening statement is a little sacrosanct, but let's move into questions. the first question is on health care, which, of course, means the affordable care act. mr. perdue, you favor repealing obamacare. and ms. nunn, you favor it but seem to have some reservations. can you tell us what is it about the affordable care act that seems to prevent you from fully embracing it. what changes would you make if you should go to washington?
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>> i think we need to fix some of the things that are not working with it. there are challenges with it. including when i'm from southwest georgia people tell me they're paying among the highest rates in the nation. we need to add a more affordable tier. i was one of the first to say we need to clay the employer mandate to make sure we get it right. those are the things that i think we need to fix and i'm willing to work with whoever is a person of good will to do that. i do not think that we need to go backwards. i do not think that we need to be having the same conversation. david has said that he wants to repeal this. i ask you, do we really want to be having this same argument look a.p.a. in six years?
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can't we come together and build upon some of the things that are work something i don't think we want to go back to a time when people who had preexisting conditions who were not able to get health insurance. i don't think we want to go backwards and tell parents that they can't cover their children up until age 26 on their health insurance. i had a father who told me i sleep better at night because i'm able to cover my kids. i don't think we want to be locked into the kind of gridlock that is emblematic of the refusal to say let's work together to focus on what really matters to georgians and that are they wet getting quality health care at good prices and are we getting more people covered? i think if we keep that in mind
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we can do good things and actually make a difference in the lives of georgians. >> thank you. she's really posed my question to you. you want to repeal obamacare but how realistic is that given the view by many that's the law of the land and there are some indications that the affordable care act is slowly beginning favor as the benefits for some become known. sit unfixable and what about the time lag? >> absolutely i think it's unfixable. this goes against the grain of our american heritage. i think we proved in the 1980's, that a society has a leg up. we brought down the soviet union with the strength of our economy and the power of our kids. when this president told us we could keep our insurance, i'm not sure what he meant by that. like you, millions of insurance had their insurance canceled. my \wife and i had our personal insurance canceled. it was perfect for us with a major carrier. we were told that wasn't good enough so we now have a new policy that my federal government says is ok for me.
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it has a lot of things i don't need and my rates doubled. this government has not -- no government has proven they can manage this big a part of our economy. if you look at how good a job they're doing with the veterans administration, it might give you some indication of what this is going to look like in a few years. in my opinion it needs to be repealed and replaced. we have good alternatives but the one i personally like the best is congressman price's own h.r.400. it has affordability and doesn't deny access the way this one does. i don't believe the bureaucrats in washington is a better way to go than the free-market solution. >> follow-up to both of you. what about the problem of georgia's rural hospitals that are closing because the federal subsidies that are not coming
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largely because georgia didn't extend medicaid? >> it's largely not coming because of obamacare. they cut the rates. we need to give more power to the states and have more flexibility to deal with the priorities that they have in these rural and smaller hospitals that have a disproportionate share of medicaid and medicare patients. i think the medicaid patients should come back in the form of block grants. >> i know you've been vocal on this issue as well. what's your solution to these georgia rural hospitals going out of business? >> i've been talking to folks that run rural hospitals and that are partners to rural hospitals around the statement. they tell me we should have expanded medicaid as a state. that we are not allowing 650,000 people that should have access to have access. we're paying their emergency bills and sending the others elsewhere.
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we need to work together. we can't afford to be gridlock. we need to fix what's not working and not have a stalemate while folks in rural communities suffer. >> thank you. let's move to transportation. as you know, georgia gets about half of its road building funds from the federal highway trust fund, which is rung on empty. it's depleted. the gas tax is the basis for the fund. it hasn't been raised since 1993 and to compound the problem not keeping up with inflation, you have americans driving less and more fuel-efficient cars. but if georgia loses those federal funds it would be a big blow. road projects would come to a halt. you said you will not raise taxes under any circumstances but what's the alternative to keep the federal funds flowing to georgia? >> this is a perfect example of what happens when big government tries to allocate our resources
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out here. this is a much bigger issue. it's the entire infrastructure. we're spending a fracture of what we need to be spending in our infrastructure just to maintain it. if you look at the port of savannah, it's taken us 17 years to get approval through the e.p.a. and our legal system to deepen that port five feet. in the meantime, china has added one of their major ports in the last three or four years. we're losing our competitive edge because we're not paying attention to our infrastructure. regulatory control, educated work force, water, cheap power and infrastructure, that's how you grow an economy.
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the problem right now in every one of those areas, we have difficulties. there is $480 billion of redundant agency expenses in the federal budget. i said that right, 480 billion dollars of redundant agencies. we don't have a problem of enough money. we have a problem of it going to the right purposes. investment and infrastructure, roads, airports, rail, have economic return for our economy. that is where the money needs to be spent. not in redundant agencies. >> notebook for a gas tax hike? >> no, sir. >> same question to you ms. nunn. would you vote for a rise in the gas tax? >> i do not believe we should be raising taxes either. i also share david's sensibility about the importance of infrastructure. we have to find a way of investing in infrastructure. we have a d-plus grade from civil engineers. china is spending three times what america is spending on civil infrastructure. we have to have the capacity to work together.
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we talked about certainty in washington. we can't keep kicking the can down the road with three or six-month extensions. we have to have a long-term view. again, what it takes, we will work across the aisle, embrace partnership in getting things done. i think the savanna port and the deepening of the harbor is a perfect example. it did take, 17 years to get that done. and i think the example, the real illustration of why we need to change that, is we have too many people who are not willing to work together to get the kinds of things done that we all know are practical and need to happen. unlike david, i don't believe you can prosecute your way through.
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you have to be able to work with the president, together, across the aisle in congress, to get it done. that is what we need more of in washington. i do think that is essential to create conditions for economic growth. >> i have to follow up for both of you. the highway trust fund is empty. it has to be funded. in fact, there is a bipartisan move in the senate to do that. so this talk is wonderful, but the road building projects are online, the bulldozers are ready to go. they need money. what do you do short-term to keep money flowing? >> there are purposeful choices we need to make about how we invest. we know investment in infrastructure and education creates returns and enables growth. it is actually the way that we do enable more funds to have the capacity for the things we need to get done. so i think we do have duplication in government. we do have to make choices. and i would make the choice to invest in our infrastructure as
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a part of a strategic outline working together with others in congress. >> briefly, what do you do? >> we have that in so many areas in our country today. we have ways and means right now in the congress between the house and senate to take care of that. but they have to reallocate, reprioritize how the money is spent. that is what we send them to do. just adding a new gas tax is the easy way out. that would be an easy answer. but we have an $18 trillion debt, and another $86 trillion in things we're not even talking about yet. we will add another tax on small businesses and individuals -- there is a better way to do this if the people in congress would get together and just get it done. >> next hop that area is
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immigration. as you know, the immigration reform act passed the senate in bipartisan fashion and never came to a vote in the house because of conservative republican opposition. you indicated that you favor that bipartisan bill in the senate. but president obama in the next few weeks is going, we are told, to make an executive action announcement. we don't know what he's going to say, but there is considerable speculation he may attempt to find ways to make it easier for the 11 million, maybe not all of 11 million, but some illegal immigrants in the country to gain legal status. my question to you, michelle nunn, do you think the president, in absence of congressional action, should take action? what would you like him to say? >> let me start by saying that i do support the bipartisan comprehensive legislation that was really worked very hard toward by folks like the chamber and unions and farm bureau.
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people as diverse as chuck schumer and marco rubio. when all those people agree, it is something you need to take another look at. this is probably one of the sharper contrasts you will find between david and myself. david embraces what i believe is the attitude of gridlock in washington, that has not enabled us to get this done. sharper contrasts you will find between david and myself. david embraces what i believe is the attitude of gridlock in washington, that has not enabled us to get this done. we talk about what is happening on the border. the immigration bill passed in the senate would enable us to invest in 20,000 security agents on the border, and a surveillance system that would make a real difference. so when you look at what david is talking about, not only does he oppose this, he ran ads distorting the position of the chamber, the compromise position many folks in this room worked towards creating. and i don't think that is what we need. david sat in the room with folks at the chamber and said, after
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10 minutes, he walked out in anger. he said that. this is the kind of issue we need to be able to stay at the table to work out, to make a difference around, and really address our economy, jobs, and the deficit. all the economists i have talked to have said this is the right thing to do for our country, and we need to move forward with that. but i do believe we need to have congress and the president work together. we need to get out of the executive order system and into the compromising and collaboration and partnership system in washington. >> do i read that, you would prefer president obama not to call an executive action? >> i believe we should have congress making the compromises and partnerships with the executive branch that will enable us to do this legislation. not executively. >> thank you very much. you said you cannot really talk about copperheads of immigration reform until we secure the border.
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but surely you have thought about and have some ideas about what to do about the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country, many of whom are important to the state's economy, in particular the agriculture industry. what do you do about these folks? do you deport them? what is your solution? also, i would like your comments on the expected executive action by the president. >> i think the fact that implied amnesty is on the table is one reason why we have the debacle on the border today. this has been this president's position all along. i disagree with that. i think the first thing that we have to do is break this complex issue into components. it is what you do everyday in business. the first component we have to solve, we have to follow the law of the land, enforce the laws we have in the books to protect and secure our borders.
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i personally think it is more than an immigration issue. it is a national security issue. today, the immigration issue is broader than illegal immigrants. 40% of people here illegally came in on a legal visa and just overstayed their visa. this federal government is not even enforcing the visa laws that we have. in addition, if you look at the legal immigration problem, it may be as big or bigger than the illegal problem. we are bringing in twice as many legal immigrants today as during the two highest period of our history. 188-to 1920 and then again in the 1980's. this has not been a bipartisan thing. this is this president with executive orders doing this. i really believe we have to take a conference of look at this, because there are needs. having grown up and worked on
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farms, i understand the needs of farmers to get access to legal labor. right now, the program is built by bureaucrats, for bureaucrats, and it is very cumbersome for these farmers. i believe it needs to be streamlined so they can have access to legal labor. >> next general area of inquiry is defense. military bases in georgia are very important to the state's economy. we know we lost fort mcpherson, fort gillam and the naval supply school in athens in the last base re-alignment and closure commission in 2005. there is word there may be another coming up in the next couple years, which raises the question, could dobbins air reserve base be on the line? could robins air force base be on the line? my question to each of you, and i will start with you, david perdue. as a freshman senator, what can you do to protect georgia's military bases and be sure the cuts in defense, which are coming, don't endanger national
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security? >> well, i grew up just down the road. warner robins air force base. if you listen quietly you might hear a few planes going off. as i was growing up, during the cuban missile crisis i was riding a bicycle to football practice and listening and watching. about every four or five minutes, a tanker or a b-52 took off to do the route around cuba. as a young kid i thought, how important it is to have that type of security. that was a time when they had the nuclear bomb threat training in our school. where you get under your desk. but in all seriousness, i believe the greatest threat to our national security and defense is this debt and the fact we are not taking it seriously. if you look at what we're trying to do around the world right
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now, we have confused our allies and encouraged our enemies because of this confused foreign policy we have. to have a strong foreign policy, you have to have a strong defense, but to have a strong defense, as we proved with the soviet union, you have to have a strong economy, and you cannot be borrowing at the level we are now and do that. i believe when the next round comes, i will be fighting to grow the economy to make sure we have a strong defense. i'll work with these private organizations like 21st century and the chambers of commerce to make sure we communicate the strategic intent of these bases and the strategic importance of our geographic location. these bases are not here by mistake, and i intend to keep them here. thank you.
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>> michelle nunn, as you know, georgia has long been somewhat protected from military cutbacks. back in the day when walter george, richard russell, even your dad, sam nunn, your great uncle, they were part of the establishment that kept bases secure. but those days are gone. same question to you. how do you, as a freshman senator, protect military bases in georgia, which are of great importance to local communities economically, and be sure that defense cuts do not endanger the national security at a time of such peril? >> i have been able to travel around and meet with the base community, folks doing such a good job. the 21st century partnership. we have such a proud heritage of support for our military in georgia, with nine bases, 140,000 men and women serving under d.o.d., $20 billion of economic impact. second-highest enlistment rate
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of any state in the country in our military. i would say i disagree with those in washington and the president who believe this is the time to cut our military. i don't believe that. i believe the world is a dangerous place right now. we have asked our men and women to sacrifice enormously over the last decade-plus, and we need to continue to have the strongest and best military in the world. we have a wonderful heritage of bipartisan leadership in georgia. i've heard my dad say on a number of occasions, there was never a closure during his 24 years in the senate. that is not a coincidence. we need someone who is able to commit to being a steward on the armed services committee. i have committed to do that. we need someone who will work to preserve and protect bases, but also expand the mission. i was at king's bay. they have 20% additional capacity. we need to bring capacity to continue to contribute to the military in georgia. i think gridlock is the enemy of our capacity here, and, if you look at the sequestration, i was
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talking to a major general in the marines, he said sequestration as done more to hurt our preparation than anything else in the last few decades. the government shut down for furloughed 4,000 people just down the road. we need to work together to preserve and protect military bases and our military capacity. >> any rebuttal on support of the shutdown? >> not at all. that speaks for itself. the situation we had in washington was over obamacare. what i was saying, we cannot default on our interest payment. this is one of the things that's sacrosanct. we had a lot of people beginning to talk about that. >> we have covered the four basic topic areas the candidates agreed to. i wish we could keep going, but under the rules we have the forum is approaching conclusion. time for closing statements.
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by prior agreement, the order was determined, and michelle nunn has the first closing statement. >> first of all, thank you, david, thank you. i look forward to more spirited conversations. over the next few months. thanks again to the chamber for hosting a terrific gathering. i was here last year with you all, just getting my campaign started. you are honoring saxby chambliss for a number of achievements. one of those achievements was his work with senator warner on the long-term debt. i think that kind of bipartisanship, that statesmanship, that collaboration, is what we need more of in washington. it has been the theme of my campaign. as i travel around the state, it has been responsible for the energy and excitement we see. we had 200 people in the hot sun waiting for us when we got here, just to say we are ready for real change, for the kind of civility you want to bring to washington. and it is responsible for the 50,000 folks who have given time or resources to the campaign, and at the heart of taking on
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issues we can deal with with a practical and pragmatic sensibility. some of the issues that we talked about here today. protecting and preserving our national defense. comprehensive immigration reform. making sure we are investing in the right things, smart things like infrastructure and our kids, education. david and i have different real world experiences. i have experiences about lifting people up to the last 26 years, growing organizations and getting things done for the people of georgia in a collaborative way, a proven way of working across party lines. i think that is what we need more of. i don't think we need more prosecutors. we need more problem solvers. i think we need more collaboration and less conflict, and that is what i pledge to bring. i have been telling people all over the state i am interested in carrying forward the georgia values -- wisdom, justice, and moderation. i invite you to join me in this. thank you.
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>> thank you very much. now, the closing statement from david perdue. >> thank you, john, and thank you for hosting me today. our politicians have created a full-blown crisis in america. i think it will take somebody from the outside with the right experience to make a difference. i believe that in this race we should be talking about issues and priorities that address the crisis. americans always do well dealing with crisis. i have been very clear about my priorities throughout this entire campaign. i believe we really have to get serious about stopping obamacare. i think we have to get serious about stopping this outrageous spending and rein in out-of-control expenditures. third thing, we have got to grow our economy and create jobs. that happens by reforming our
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tax structure, reducing regulations, and unlocking our energy resources. the fourth thing, we need to secure our borders and create an immigration system that makes sense in a free society that has the rule of law. i just believe that this race is very simple, the decision in this race. if you like what's going on in washington, vote for my opponent. because you know she will be nothing more than a proxy for harry reid and barack obama, nothing will change. but if you are as outraged as i am by the size and scope of this government, by the arrogant policies that are failing this administration, and the sheer magnitude of the debt they are piling on the backs of our kids and grandkids, then stand with me and let's take our country back. together, we can bring america back to a position of strength and prosperity. thank you, again, for having us
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today. i look forward to future conversations. thank you very much. >> thank you to both of you for the stimulating exchange of ideas in this forum. i am sure this will not be the last time the two of you are on stage together as the campaign continues to build momentum heading toward election day in november. thank you for being here. thank you for your attention. good to be with you. thank you. >> thanks. very nice job. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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>> next week, special primetime programming on the c-span networks, monday -- monday on c-span. on tuesday, issues spotlight on irs targeting of conservative groups. wednesday night, the principle of hartford connecticut's magnet school on educating children from disadvantaged backgrounds. thursday, the house budget committee hearing on antipoverty programs. friday night, native american history. on c-span2 next week, book tv and prime time. a discussion about school choice. 8:00, how theat poor can save capitalism. interview.ay, and 8:00, -- nott at --
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on tuesday, the end of world war ii and the atomic bomb. anniversary -- on friday, a nasa documentary about the 1969 apollo moon landing. know what you think about the programs you are watching. twitter -- or e-mail us. join the conversation, like us on facebook, follow us on twitter. >> texas governor rick perry spoke recently about border security and immigration policy. he also talked about the situation in iraq and how he
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thought the u.s. should be responding to threats by isis. the event occurred almost one week after governor perry was powered over abuse of stemming from a veto threat he carried out. he began his 30 minute speech by dressing the charges. [applause] >> he never ages. anyway, thank you for the imitation to be here today. i refer to this as a little wellspring of wisdom in the desert of washington, d.c. heritage, thank you for what you do, and to genevieve, for allowing us to come and be a part of this today. and jan, thank you for the program. i mentioned it, you do, in fact,
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look eternally young. some of you may not know this. rich has been the head of national review for as long as i've been governor of texas. that is a pretty lengthy period of time. you don't get to stay around that long unless you are really good at what you do, or just really lucky. i suggest both of those things. it doesn't hurt to be both. as he shared with you, and some of you might have heard that
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there are some interesting things going on back in my home state. right now, there are a few public officials in travis county who have taken issue with an exercise of my constitutional veto authority. these are fundamentally, principles that are very important. namely, a governor's power to veto legislation and funding, and the right of free speech. i am very confident in my case, and i can assure you that i will fight this attack of our system of government, and with my fellow citizens, both republicans and democrats, i am
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to defend our constitution and stand up for the rule of law in the state of texas. [applause] to all of you who work here at heritage or at national review, for republican leaders across the way. you have for 5.5 years been among the leading voices of the opposition. every bit as much as william f buckley and ed fuller and the whole conservative movement of another era, you have carried the flag when it wasn't easy. for conservatives across america, you have kept the supplies coming. you have been there with reasoned arguments, principled criticisms, in a spirited debate. you have been there to show optimism and camaraderie, and that is the mark of every good cause from my perspective. you have been holding the ground as best you can, and more than that, pointing away back for a new conservative majority. we have 29 months left in the presidency of barack obama. that is the bad news. the good news is, he's got exactly 136 days left until the

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